Thursday, June 5, 2008

Why Whites Don't Engage on Race

With the unprecedented opportunity to have a black man at the helm of our country it seems that race issues are coming more and more to the forefront of our minds. At least the blogs I read would lead me to believe that is the case. There are a number of blogs that would fall into that category. I will take a look one of those today.

"The Black Sentinel". Let me say up front, I like this blog quite well. I feel it gives me a window into how the average black person might feel about race relations in this country. I have added this site to my blogroll for the time being so that if you wish to visit there you can. However, please be warned there is language on this site I would not allow on my own, and wouldn't want children to see.

Topics covered on The Black Sentinel are all race related with headlines such as; How Is Pfleger Connected To Obama?, White Bigots A Plenty, Enabling Co-Dependency, and Doomed Black Community. The vast majority of commenters on this blog, of which there are many, appear to be in agreement. I do not know if they are black. On occasion there is a comment from someone professing to be white. Sometimes those comments are on track in my opinion. Sometimes they are racist rants. Either way any disagreement with the "Sentinel" or its’ commenters is usually met with an accusation of racism. I’m not saying this to change “The Black Sentinel”. I’m saying it merely as an example of how the discussion of race takes place in this country.

This is the reason white people refuse to engage on the issue of race. It's simply not worth the cost to most folks. Let me be frank, the average white person has little to gain by the discussion. I'm not going to say individual racism doesn't exist, I'm not saying black people shouldn't fight against it, I'm only saying that most of the time it isn't worth the fight. White people are fearful of even the debate because at the slightest disagreement they are told they are racist. A label no one wants, that can be difficult to live down. So instead of true debate black and white together discussing apparent disparities you have white people giving up, shrugging their shoulders and walking away from the table.

I'm not blaming the "Sentinel", Again, I like this site. I hope you'll visit it. I'm only making an observation as to why it seems that most whites are apathetic to the current state of race relations in our country.

As a result, the discussion rarely occurs in mixed company. It happens without the presence of a dissenting voice. Allowing stereotypes to go unchecked, not out of malice, but out of ignorance. What say you?


Anonymous said...

The problem with engaging in normal conversation (face-to-face) is it can eventually be tied to racism (or “reverse racism” which is just as prevalent) if that is what you are looking for.

You can read a transcript from “same race” bloggers and read nothing into it – it merely appears to be a heated debate. Ask someone to read the same transcript and tell the reader the bloggers were of different races and, all of a sudden, all the racial undertones kick in.

Saying someone is racist needs to have some weight or examples to it other than simply a difference of opinion. It seems to me that oftentimes a legitimate difference of opinion, lifestyle, or culture gets labeled “racist behavior”.

LanguageLover said...

I often have issues with racism when casting a play. As a white guy, it will seem racist if I put a black student in the part of a servant, even if it is appropriate for the actor.

For example, I am currently directly a play for a class. The one black student that I have has conflicts and cannot be in one of the performances and misses some of the classes, but still wants to act in the play. I cast him as the servant because it is only one scene. One day into rehearsals, another student (also of a minority race) asks me why I cast the only black student as the servant. I replied, "It's either because it's the smallest part and he will miss a performance, or it's because I'm racist. Take your pick."